Andrew Gilman

Mayfield, Hubbard and the OKC Thunder: Three Thoughts From the Past Week

Mayfield, Hubbard and the OKC Thunder: Three Thoughts From the Past Week

Everyone appreciates an apology. It’s nice if someone has done wrong and then has the awareness to realize it.

Saying “sorry” means something.

Unless you’re always saying it. Then it means less and less until an apology isn’t anything more than just empty words.

And here we are with the latest from Baker Mayfield, who offered up what seems to be his weekly apology recently when he said “sorry” for criticizing the Browns medical staff  for the way it handled the O’Dell Beckham injury situation, saying OBJ should have had surgery in the summer and not having to deal with playing hurt all season.

“My intentions were not to throw our medical staff under the bus,”Mayfield tweeted. “No, I don’t know all the facts about Odell’s injury. It was emotionally answered …”

Seems we have a pattern with Mayfield. He acts overly emotional, people react to it, Mayfield takes a breath and then apologizes for it. This situation is no different, but it is perhaps the most troubling.

OK, so Mayfield was arrested in Arkansas, he “planted” a flag in Ohio, he threw a football “at” a TCU player in Norman, grabbed his crotch in Kansas, came after Cleveland teammate Duke Johnson and “apologized” for all of those instances. And in every one of those cases Mayfield had as many people rushing to defend him as he has had detractors. Fine. That makes sense You could say he was being a competitor, is fiery, whatever.

But disparaging a training staff? C’mon. There’s no possible way to defend Mayfield here. The Cleveland staff has no other charge except to make their players healthy. There’s no benefit for the staff to make things more difficult for any player. The medical and training staff aren’t players, aren’t fans and shouldn’t be subjected to criticism from someone who talked too “emotionally.”

Then again, Mayfield has a history of acting emotionally, so this shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.

Hard to imagine what Mayfield will say he’s sorry for next week.

…..

Speaking of hard to imagine. It’s hard to imagine that Chuba Hubbard got a bad deal at Thursday’s made-for-TV college football awards show. It would have been great for the Oklahoma State running back to earn the Doak Walker award, but it went to Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin. The numbers were comparable between the two runners but Hubbard’s last two showings of the season weren’t his best and his best look wasn’t even seen (by most). Blame ESPN or whatever, but when your biggest performance of the season is on a pay-per-view channel, people aren’t going to seek you out.

Meanwhile, Hubbard had more attempts than Taylor, J.K. Dobbins of Ohio State and Travis Etienne of Clemson. The point is, Hubbard wasn’t far and away better than the rest of the challengers. It was a great group of running backs. Hubbard didn’t win, but it shouldn’t be considered a snubbing, either.

……

I know everyone is sorta resigned to thinking the Thunder would be better off losing to enhance their draft position, but it’s no sure thing that missing the playoffs would make this team any better.

Long way to go before we find out the true intentions of the front office for this season, but one thing we know today is the way this team is put together, it’s too good to be tanking. The Thunder aren’t a classic Cleveland or Philly team of the past. It’s not filled with scrubs. The Thunder have young talent and proven vets. They have enough pieces that it could sneak into the playoffs. Now, of course lots of moving parts are in play and things could certainly change.

But think for a second What’s the proven record of teams who try to tank? Outside of the 76ers who stockpiled picks for nearly half a decade, are there enough other examples out there that show prolonged losing helps? Phoenix, Cleveland, New York have been bad for so long it hardly seems worth the risk, plus, you still have to get lucky in the draft.

The Thunder have too many assets and too many positives to put in for a total rebuild, and if that’s the case, winning now sure seems a lot better than trying to lose. In addition, winning sends the right message – to the team, to the fans, to everyone. Obviously, the players never try to lose games. The order to “tank” comes from upper management who instructs the coach to fiddle with the lineup and put the team in a worse position,

Trying to win is organic and natural. It energizes a fan base and sends the right message. Trying to lose is dangerous. It asks the fan base to put trust in the guys wearing suits, not basketball shorts. Sure, the Thunder aren’t going to win a title this season, but it’s not a sure thing the team gets better next year by trying to lose this year, either.

 

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